Fungicide is more detrimental to soil organisms in warm, dry conditions

Photo credit: Mark Smith Photo credit: Mark Smith

According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, growing season climates are expected to become warmer and drier in many areas of the world including central Europe. A recent study published in Applied Soil Ecology set out to investigate whether soil organisms were differentially affected by the fungicide pyrimethanil in varying climate scenarios. Researchers found that collembolans—small animals that play an important role in healthy soils by decomposing dead organic matter—were more susceptible to pesticides in warm, dry soils than in moist soils. Collembolans exposed to pyrimethanil in dry soils produced fewer offspring and pyrimethanil became more toxic to collembolans in soils that were both warm and dry. If global climate change continues to accelerate, studies that take into account interactions among multiple environmental factors for chemical risk assessment will become necessary.